My Transformational Yoga Journey

I can’t imagine where I’d be today if I let that first Yoga class stop me from ever taking Yoga again.

I didn’t get it. I sure as hell couldn’t stay still. Talk about uncomfortable. What the heck does “Om” and “Namaste” mean anyway?

Little did I know, that it was actually what I’ve been looking for my whole life……balance, strength, peace and flexibility.

Last year I got injured again.   I was teaching Zumba when it happened. This wasn’t the first time either. Zumba is high impact with a lot of repetitive movement. Overtime and with overuse, the body can get stressed and break down. Injury. I’m not getting any younger either.  I don’t seem to be bouncing back as fast.

It’s not just the joy that I’d miss if I didn’t get to dance anymore…..it’s also my livelihood. Teaching fitness is how I support myself. What would I do if I couldn’t use my body anymore to teach?

I was starting to get that onset of depression that seems to come with every injury. It’s like mourning the loss of my freedom. Then the “shouldve’s” and “what if’s” start, “I should’ve taken better care of myself” “I should’ve taken it easy” “What if the pain doesn’t go away” and God forbid “What if I can’t teach again?”

For most of my life, I’ve struggled with an unhealthy habit ……. Mindless eating. What I’ve learned through my study in Eating Psychology is that this behavior is a physiological response to perceived stress. I was a stress eater.

In the past when I’ve gotten injured, I would totally detach from my diet. I used food for emotional comfort and physical escape. I gained weight and would have to work at trying to get it off again until the next injury came. It became a cycle.

I didn’t want to go down that route again. I was tired of running the same old story.   There had to be another way.  I needed to build strength emotionally, physically, and mentally. Recovery would faster if I could stay positive and learn how to move in my body in a way that felt good.

I went back to Yoga to help me with rehab. It turned out it was more than just physical rehab. It gave me a total emotional and mental detox. A complete realignment.

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Yoga became a new healthy habit that empowered the rest of my lifestyle. I started to feel stronger in my body and that gave me the confidence to make healthy choices throughout the day. I started to appreciate and love my body in a way that I’d never felt. I finally understood the whole “Body is Your Temple” thing. I know, I sound like a total hippy now. I guess you can say I’ve converted. I drank the Kool-aid.

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Yoga makes me more mindful throughout my day. I will actually stop and smell the roses. I’ve slowed down to enjoy and savor my food. I melt into my body when I stretch as if completely indulging in a warm hot bath. Because of this I feel I’ve had this amazing Uplift, enhancing the entire quality of my life. As one of my favorite Yoga teachers Andres Salcedo said, “Mindfulness adds quality.”

The awareness I have on the mat gives me the space I need to connect to my own intuition. I come out of class feeling clear, confident, and centered. It brings out my best.    FullSizeRender-3

Yoga goes beyond the poses. It literally means Union. Some teachers will say it’s a union of breath and mind or to yolk the mind, body, and spirit.  It’s a practice of conscious living that stills the mind and energizes the body.

There’s more and more science now proving the health benefits of Yoga are tremendous to relieving stress, anxiety, depression, and pain. Harvard Health Publications said, “Available reviews of a wide range of yoga practices suggest they can reduce the impact of exaggerated stress responses and may be helpful for both anxiety and depression. In this respect, yoga functions like other self-soothing techniques.”

It’s changed my life dramatically and for that I reason I decided to deepen my practice and share my love by becoming a Yoga Teacher through Yogaworks. A premier certification that’s taken me 6 months of training and immersion.  I’m now 2 weeks away from completing!

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During this journey, I’ve learned how to tame my overactive brain and restore my overworked body. In a high intensity society, a sensitive person like myself needed a healthy productive outlet.  Yoga has not only transformed my body, but my life.  I feel calmer, happier, stronger, focused and more flexible.  Unhealthy habits like mindless eating have diminished and I’ve harnessed that energy into my yoga practice.

Yoga is for everyone…..really.  There are so many different practices that there is something for everyone.  Experiment!  Explore and see what you discover when you move slow and go a little deeper.

Now it’s time to share my passion for mindful movement!

Starting the week of September 6th:

#1 – Energizing Yoga at LA Dancefit 8am Wednesdays

#2 – Uplift Movement 12 – Week Transformation Program fusing Dance, Pilates, and Yoga.  Classes offered 2-4 days a week in Brentwood.  This is semi-private and limited to only 4 people.

Email me at deirdra@theupliftmovement.org to learn more!

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